Travis McClain’s review published on Letterboxd:
I'm trying to work on my DVD Talk Oscar Challenge checklist, and one category that's always frustrating is finding a Documentary (Short Subject) winner. I was excited to find Nine from Little Rock streaming on Hulu. (I was also excited that its run time is just under twenty minutes.)
I have tremendous admiration for the Little Rock Nine. I cannot fathom the fortitude demanded of each of them, at such tender ages, to alter the course of history.
Nine from Little Rock, despite such a compelling subject made by one of its own, is unfortunately too perfunctory and flat to be engaging. Most of this doc is dedicated to a "Where Are They Now?" segment, though not all nine are covered fully. Part of me feels like they could have spared another few minutes to give each of the group equal time, and part of me, I hate to say, feels like with so much redundancy (all but one went to college, wanting to make the world a better place, most of them changing majors along the way like so many students) that more judicious editing could have trimmed several minutes.
It's almost embarrassing to hear Jefferson Thomas talk about the pre-integration period as though its folly was something everyone sat around and laughed about a whole seven years later. The blatant racism that still dominates so much of our society 50 years after this documentary was made attests to how naive that view was.
Ultimately, I think Nine from Little Rock faltered because there just wasn't enough water under the bridge. Remarkable as those young men and women were, they really hadn't had time to do anything of note in just seven years. All that said, my interest in the Little Rock Nine was sufficient to carry me through these twenty minutes, so there's that.
How Nine from Little Rock Entered My Flickchart
Nine from Little Rock < Psycho (1960) --> #1608
Nine from Little Rock < Ocean's Twelve --> #1608
Nine from Little Rock < American Wedding --> #1608
Nine from Little Rock < The Cookout --> #1608
Nine from Little Rock > The Farmer's Wife --> #1566
Nine from Little Rock > Gift Wrapped --> #1541
Nine from Little Rock > Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde --> #1528
Nine from Little Rock > Mary Poppins --> #1521
Nine from Little Rock < Meet the Parents --> #1521
Nine from Little Rock < Radio Flyer --> #1521
Nine from Little Rock > Big Daddy --> #1520
Nine from Little Rock entered my Flickchart at #1520/1616
1964 Academy Awards (37th)
(W) DOCUMENTARY (Short Subject) -- Charles Guggenheim, Producer